A SCRAP metal merchant who cleared his name last week has spoken of the strain the case has had on him and his family over the last two years.
Joey Smith, of the Smiths of Bloxham yard, last week had his conviction of handling dodgy metal overturned at the Court of Appeal.
He was prosecuted following an undercover police operation which saw his yard raided and him and his colleagues arrested in 2012.
Three other workers had charges dropped against them and another was cleared after a trial last year.
The 25-year-old, from Milton Road in Adderbury, said the case had caused stress to his family including his terminally ill parents.
He said his 70-year-old father Peter – who had charges against him dropped before the case went to court – is suffering from Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer.
His 64-year-old mother Kathleen’s breast cancer returned and spread to a lung during the ordeal.
He said: “She got over it once and then all this started and it came back.
They just gave her the all- clear before we got raided.
“The case caused stress on my ill mother and father for such a long time, and a huge cost in money and health.”
Between December 2011 and May 2012, undercover officers visited the yard 33 times offering metal for sale, which they claimed Mr Smith bought believing it to have been stolen.
Following the operation, Mr Smith was convicted of attempting to convert criminal property and given a £1,750 fine, and a £2,500 costs order, after a trial at Oxford Crown Court in Decemer last year.
However, last week this was overturned by the Court of Appeal.
Mr Smith said the family would not be pushing for compensation, adding: “We will try to forget it all and get it back on track. After the raid people did not want to come. They thought we were bad people.”
But he said: “We have had a lot of support from local people.”
His solictor Robert Borwick said: “My client is delighted with the outcome of the hearing at the Court of Appeal.
“The prosecution brought huge strain to him and his family over the years and he is pleased they have now come to an end and that these matters, that he denied from the outset, have been concluded.”
Mr Smith’s older brother Tommy Smith was cleared by a jury of attempting to convert criminal property in the trial, but pleaded guilty to possessing prohibited weapons and having a shotgun without a licence.
Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman Jo Harwood said after the appeal hearing: “We continue, along with national colleagues, to carefully consider the judgment of the Court of Appeal and we are ensuring that we take this into account in current and future cases.”
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11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
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